The cysteine protease family members play important roles in various pivotal cellular processes.
The difficulty in the analysis of the effects of cysteine protease aberrations in cancer comes as a result of the
fact that they take part in complex proteolytic pathways. Nevertheless, there is a vast amount of data regarding
the involvement of distinct members of this family in divergent types of cancer. Cysteine proteases assist migration
and development of the disease, as well as increase the invasiveness of particular kinds of tumors.
They are designated as both drug targets, as well as cancer susceptibility biomarkers. This implies that the abnormalities
in their activity and expression patterns may be associated with the hallmarks of cancer. This review
demonstrates that the influence of cysteine proteases on different mechanisms underlying cancer is undisputable.
Thus, they are potent targets for future study and should be recognized as key players in the fight against cancer.
Keywords: Apoptosis, calpains, cancer, caspases, cathepsins, cysteine proteases.
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